Practical Ecommerce

3 Thanksgiving Week Ecommerce Promotions

The week of Thanksgiving is the biggest retail shopping time of the year. Are you ready?

  • Inventory in stock?
  • New products created in your store?
  • Staffing plan in place?
  • Boxes and shipping supplies ordered?
  • Promotions designed and ready to go?

Many retailers plan their inventory for the holidays. But now is the time to drive revenue. We all know that Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving — is the biggest day of the year for brick-and-mortar retailers. Cyber Monday — the Monday after Thanksgiving — is the biggest day of the year for online retailers. Some observers believe online sales will approach $2 billion on Cyber Monday this year. Thanksgiving Day is also important for many online retailers.

Do you have your Thanksgiving week promotions in place? Do it now. Market aggressively to your prospects and customers for the single week when they are most likely to buy. Put your best foot forward with high quality content and creative promotions to maximize revenue and conversions.

Here are three promotion ideas to help.

Promotion 1: Pre-Thanksgiving Sale

Since many online retailers are focusing on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consider an aggressive sale on the Monday before Thanksgiving. Your potential buyers may be more focused on their holiday meal planning. But many of them are starting to look for deals. Why not present them with an offer they can’t resist on Monday rather than wait until Thursday or Friday? This could be your most aggressive promotion of the week.

Make it crisp: “3 day sale” or “Save 25% if you order before Thanksgiving.” Pick a hot product that is likely to convert – or at least get a click to your landing page. In my previous online jewelry business, we frequently ran an aggressive clearance sale before Thanksgiving. It was not holiday themed.

Ideally, consumers will remember your brand on subsequent days because of this Monday sale. If someone places an order, offer another incentive for her next order.

Promotion 2: Thanksgiving Sale

You may position this as your Black Friday sale. But I prefer a Thanksgiving Day sale. Send this out early Thursday morning. There are a surprising number of consumers shopping on Thanksgiving Day, especially women who do not care about the football games.

Offer a different set of products this time around, versus the Pre-Thansgiving sale. It can be more “holiday themed” if you sell those types of products. Think gifts, rather than personal items. Offer free shipping in this promotion, following from most retailers.

Promotion 3: Cyber Monday Sale

This is a sale you have to do. Your shoppers are likely to be younger and using mobile tablets and smartphones. Most of the action will come before noon. Send this out early Sunday evening to capture shoppers looking for early Cyber Monday deals.

Keep this promotion focused on holiday gifts. If you have products that appeal to the younger crowd, feature those. You must offer free shipping in this promotion. Try to entice your shoppers to buy more – add an incentive if they stretch their order to a higher amount. Shoppers are more likely to purchase items now rather than later. Put incentives in place.

Promotional Checklist

Put your best foot forward on all three promotions. Here is a checklist to help prepare.

  • Choose products for all thee promotions. Create the necessary coupons.
  • Create landing pages for each promotion. Make sure they are mobile ready, as a high percentage of your shoppers will read their email from smartphones.
  • Be aggressive. Remember that shoppers are looking for deals during this time. Focus on volume rather than high margins
  • Create original images around a theme. Plan to reuse the images on your blog, in social media, and in your newsletter.
  • Deploy up-sells and cross-sells as shoppers frequently add sale items to their shopping carts.
  • Write your best copy of the year with a clear value proposition. Prepare content for your landing page, home page, newsletter, and social media posts.
  • Evaluate your newsletter subscribers for more precise targeting. Consider segmenting your newsletters to different audiences.
  • Consider promotion-specific pay-per-click ads. This is especially true for mobile ads.
  • Include another incentive in each order shipment or with your email order confirmation. Position for additional orders before Christmas.
  • Test everything. Coupons, landing pages, detail pages, home pages, and more.
  • Run a stress test on your online store. Make sure you are ready for peak loads.
  • Create tracking URLs to evaluate performance.
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Dale Traxler
Dale Traxler
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Comments ( 2 )

  1. Jason November 7, 2013 Reply

    Nice article, I just printed it out so I can review in more details. We will be following your suggestions.

    We did 4000 orders on Black Friday last year.

    We are stocked up on inventory and will also be releasing some new products on Thanksgiving.

    I have hired seasonal staff to help get these orders out.

    On Monday- Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we plan on featuring different ridiculous sale priced items each day.

    We will kick off our BF sale on Thursday night.

    For Cyber Monday, we can offer free shipping but we sell internationally too. I’m not sure about the free international shipping though….I have to think about it.

  2. Melissa Chelist November 12, 2013 Reply

    As an online merchant, I am typically focused on Cyber Monday and my guaranteed holiday cutoff dates. Thanks for reminding us that we can, and should, think about other opportunities as well. I’ve already mapped out my Pre-Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day email promotions.

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